Comic shops and record stores aren't the only local businesses that need love. Independent bookstores have plenty to offer in the age of online shopping. And on Saturday, April 30, you can show your local indie book shop some love.
Founded in 2015 after a 2014 campaign in California, Independent Bookstore Day celebrates the humble bookshop, the sort that has become scarce in the era of big-box stores and Amazon. Like Free Comic Book Day and Record Store Day, which it's sandwiched between, Independent Bookstore Day features a handful of limited-edition books and book-related items available exclusively at local independent book stores.
This year, 14 exclusive items will be available. They include:
The "Stormlight Archive" Pocket Companion: Featuring facts and quizzes based on the best-selling fantasy series. This is the perfect way to get ready for book three in Brandon Sanderson's ambitious series, due early 2017, or to try and stump Sanderson during his panels at Phoenix Comicon.
The Neil Gaiman Coloring Book: Illustrated by artist Chris Riddell, this 20-page coloring book features quotes from Gaiman's bestselling novels, including Coraline, Fortunately the Milk, and The Graveyard Book. Perfect for longtime goths and goths-in-training.
Anthony Bourdain's Perfect Burger: The gonzo chef and traveler gives detailed instructions on how to craft the perfect burger in this gallery print, numbered and signed by Bourdain.
Bad Citizen Stencil: A "tradition" for Independent Bookstore Day, this laser-cut stencil features a quote from Fran Lebowitz, "Think before you speak. Read before you think."
X Is For...: This limited-edition record is a companion to Rad American Women A-Z, an illustrated look at some of the women who have shaped American history. The recording, by Carolyn Pennypacker-Riggs, features a new version of the alphabet song, highlighting these iconic women from Angela Davis to Zora Neale Hurston.
Unfortunately, there aren't many Phoenix-area bookshops participating.
Blame it on the newness of the event, or on the fact that most local indie bookstores don't sell new books, but The Poisoned Pen and Changing Hands are the only stores that will carry the exclusive materials.
Changing Hands is holding events at both of its stores. The Tempe location is hosting a special children's storytime at 10 a.m., featuring Caldecott Award winner Molly Idle. And the Phoenix location is holding a literary trivia contest at 6 p.m. in the First Draft Book Bar, hosted by the First Draft Book Club's Barbara VanDenburgh. Additionally, Arizona Wilderness Brewing is taking over the taps at First Draft to pour its exclusive specialty brews. Both stores will be raffling off $100 gift cards as well.
And while the Poisoned Pen will have the exclusives on sale on Saturday, they are waiting a few days for their own party. Because owner Barbara Peters and her husband, Robert Rosenwald, publisher at Poisoned Pen Press, are receiving the Hercule Poirot award at the Malice Domestic Convention in Bethesda, Maryland, the Pen is holding a belated celebration on May 5, with appearances by Robyn Carr at 2 p.m., and a dual signing at 7 p.m. with k.c dyer and Diana Gabaldon.
There are still exciting things going on at other Valley used bookshops.
Dog-Eared Pages is hosting Authorpalooza, an annual celebration of local self-published authors. Running from 1 to 5 p.m., Authorpalooza will feature 12 authors from a variety of genres, including YA author Anne Questerly and historical-romance writer Kris Tualla.
The Bookshop does not have any events planned, but visitors can take advantage of a buy four, get one free sale.
So even if there are no special events at your favorite local bookshop, stop by and pick something up. It's a great way to celebrate books and reading, and you can always find something new to read.
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And that is pretty special in itself.